A more robust Eight...

We are making a change to the Ratio Eight! Because we have so many people waiting for their Eight, and many more who are contemplating purchasing one soon, I wanted to explain the reasons behind the change. If you already have an Eight on order, you should have received an email from us with these details.

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, supply chain bottlenecks, ocean freight congestion, and chip shortages have made manufacturing of electrical items very difficult, and the Eight has been particularly affected by these factors. 

In our production planning, we were expecting a large shipment of electronic boards that power the Eight to arrive soon, but a shortage of some critical components has now pushed the delivery out to late summer. 

However, we were already working on a new electrical design for the Eight. 

Since launching in 2015, The Eight has used a pressure sensor to determine how much water is in the tank, and then it optimizes the brew time accordingly. This means that you can brew various amounts of coffee in 5oz increments and there will be a slightly different bloom and brew time for each, with the goal of ensuring a consistent and balanced extraction.

After manufacturing over five thousand Ratio Eights, we’ve received a lot of feedback from our customers. We’ve also performed hundreds of warranty rebuilds. That pressure sensor has proved to be the weakest link in the Eight, and its failure has led to a higher percentage of warranty cases than we’d like to see.

We also launched the Ratio Six in January of 2020, and we’ve been very pleased to hear that our customers are very happy with how the Six brews various amounts of coffee (most commonly half or full batch, with a smaller percentage of customers brewing ¼ or ¾ batches). 

The Six uses an optical sensor on the bottom of the water tank to determine if there’s water in the tank or not. It cannot determine how much water, however.

The lack of precision is balanced by a much more rugged machine that is way less likely to require warranty service.

We also have received detailed reviews from notable coffee roasters and professionals from the USA and Europe, and the consensus is clear: The Ratio Six doesn’t need the finicky pressure sensor that the Eight has. The coffee it brews is as good as the Eight and is not lacking in nuance. The Eight remains more heavily inspired by manual pour over with its open carafe design and conical filters, while the Six reflects a scaled-down commercial batch brewing process.

The new brewing parameters with the optical sensor are simple:

  • 30 second bloom time of water delivery (for all batch sizes)
  • Half batch (20 ounces): Approx. 4.5 minute brew time 
  • Full batch (40 ounces): Less than 8 minute brew time

Here at Ratio, we make decisions based on three values that we hold very dear:

  1. Quality (we design our products to use long-lasting materials, and we make investments in serviceability. Ratio machines are built for years of brewing and are definitely not your typical disposable coffee maker).
  2. Beauty (we believe form and function are important, and that’s why we spend so much time dreaming up ways to design coffee makers you’ll want to show your friends, not hide in an appliance garage).
  3. Coffee (we believe coffee is a valuable beverage that draws people together and anchors the start of the day. It should be delicious, and brewing coffee should be easy and enjoyable).

That pressure sensor has added too much complexity at a tradeoff that isn’t worth it. To align to our quality commitment, we are discontinuing the pressure sensor design.

Our plan was to announce the new electronic boards this summer, but the chip shortage means we are making the change now. The pressure sensor will be discontinued for future orders effective immediately. The only change to the Eight is this component. Our team continues to assemble each Eight by hand here in Portland.

Our new design with the optical sensor is currently going through final testing and regulatory review. We expect to begin shipping Eights with this new design from late July to late August.

For those waiting for an Eight: thank you.

I’m so thankful for your understanding while we pursue our mission of continuous improvement at Ratio!

 

Mark Hellweg
Founder and CEO

(All photos by Nathan Michael)

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